Saturday, February 27, 2016


As many of you know, math has always been a difficult subject for me in school.  I just couldn't see things the way many students could when looking at an equation, and I cannot tell you how insecure and anxious that made me.  My father was brilliant at math; he had a masters in economics, for goodness sake!  I saw how easily he could add and subtract numbers in his head--big numbers--and even though he never made me feel foolish or showed frustration when he tried to help me with math, I felt like a failure.  What made matters worse, is that I had a math teacher in 6th grade who told me, "Well, math just isn't your area."  And so it goes.  I accepted it, much to my father's chagrin:  I was just not a "math person."

Then, I got to high school and met Mr. White, math department head, and, to my good fortune, my teacher for Algebra 2/Trigonometry.  He told me there is no such thing as a non-math person: everyone could learn and love math, it just might take a different method of instruction to get them there.  He offered to give me and a few other students help during 0 period and after school--whichever worked best.  I remember asking him, "You really think you can help me confidently find the answers to problems like these?"  and most of all, I remember his answer:  "I think I can help you learn to ask the right questions to confidently solve problems like these."

It really doesn't matter what the subject area; asking the right questions is the only way we get to the very best answers.  It is how new inventions are born, cures are discovered, and the trickiest of problems are solved.  So what is the secret, then?  Is there, in fact, an art or skill involved in developing the right questions?  We often reply to others, "That is a good question!" when we find ourselves confronted with a question that is difficult to answer.  So is that it then?  Is a good question characterized by being difficult to answer?

According to Vincent F. Hendricks, professor of formal philosophy and logic at The University of
Copenhagen in Denmark, the answer is "No, not necessarily."  He knows a thing or two about asking the right questions, and has plenty of guidance to offer.  "We can all ask, 'What's for dinner?' But we have to think carefully if we move up the hierarchy.  Do I want the answer to something specific or just an assessment?  You have to ask yourself that type of questions before you can ask a good question."  Henricks teaches that context is key.  As a whole, there are two types of questions you can ask and each of them are important depending on the answers you are specifically seeking.

Open questions are good if you want an answer that includes consideration and assessment, for example:  "What's so intriguing about a good detective story?"  The danger of asking open questions is that they can be too open.  For example, "What is the most important problem we must solve?"  A question like this is so open, we don't know how to answer, and it may create more problems than it solves!  What type of problem are we talking about?  Is it environmental, economic, political, scientific or personal?

Closed questions are good if you want a very clear answer, for example, "Can you ride a unicycle?" You can only answer this type of question very simply, in this case, "yes" or "no."  The danger with closed questions is that they often produce answers that make things seem simpler than they are in reality.  Hendricks suggests that if you want to become more informed, "A good question is not necessarily one you can answer "yes" or "no" to, but one where your answer depends on conditions or qualifications.  Open questions invite reflection, but they need a frame or a context to help us understand and focus on the specific issues that are needing our concentration.

Hendricks has developed three rules of asking good questions that are as follows:

1.  Frame the question- give it a context.  This is how you avoid talking at cross-purpose.
2.  Establish some agreed facts.  The more you agree about the framing of the question, the clearer your answer can be.
3.  Ask a short, clear, precise question to avoid ambiguity.  If any doubts arise over how to answer the question, you'll get a bad answer because you have asked a poorly formulated question.

So then, whether we are trying to solve a math problem in Trigonometry or a country-wide economic crisis, we must begin in the same place.  The best answers truly are already there waiting to be found in the carefully formulated best questions.

Click on the link here to read an article in Forbes Magazine about asking the right questions.  Tell me the single thing that stood out to you the most in that article.  Then, check out the "mystery puzzle below."  What three questions must you ask yourself in order to come up with the solution?  What is that solution?  I am interested in hearing your theories!

Forbes link:

The Case of the Insured Painting

     Conrad Sleuth’s alarm clock and telephone rang at the same time.  He turned off the alarm and answered the phone.
     “This is Hilda Dean,” a young woman said.  “Someone broke into my house last night and stole a valuable painting.”
     Sleuth took her address, put on some clothes, and drove to her house.  She let him in, and he asked her to tell him exactly what had happened.
     “I was asleep,” she said, “When the howling wind woke me up.  I got up to close the window, and I thought I heard a noise downstairs.  When I got downstairs, I realized that the street light was out, and it was too dark to see anything.  So I lit a candle and walked out on the front steps.  Sure enough.  I saw a man running off.”
     “Then what did you do?” Sleuth asked.
      “I came back inside and looked things over,” she said.  “Nothing seemed to be missing, so I went back to bed.  Then, this morning, I noticed that a painting had been taken from the basement.”
     “Is the painting insured?” Sleuth asked.
     “Well, yes. But money will never replace it.”
     Have you called the police, Ms. Dean?”
     “No.  I’ll call them now.”
     “I’ll do it.” Sleuth said.  “While we’re waiting for them, you can decide whether you want to repeat your story to them – or tell them the truth.”

Why does Sleuth think Hilda Dean is lying?


  1. What stood out most to me in the article was the man's question, "Why do we have to call a place?". It's an interesting thing to think about. Phones used to have to be tethered somewhere, when really they themselves could be the tether. One question changed the course of technology.
    As for the mystery, Hilda is caught in some details that may not be outright lies but are certainly not the truth. She says the wind was so loud it woke her up, yet she still heard a noise. She went to close her window, and yet didn't notice the street lights were out through the window. This discovery didn't come until she was downstairs. The street was completely dark, and yet a single candle provided enough light for her to see a man running away. I think Hilda pretended the painting was stolen to receive the insurance money.

  2. The thing that stood out to me most in the article was: after that man asked one simple question, it unraveled into something so much greater. I feel like we ask those kinds of questions daily, without knowing it.

    As for the story…first of all, she said it was indeed, too dark to see anything, so she lit a candle and walked out on the front steps. This would be outside, where she said the howling wind woke her up. There are two things wrong with this picture. One, a simple candle would never be enough light for you to see someone. Second, if the wind was blowing so hard, the candle would, in fact, be blown out by it. Therefore, she didn’t think through her false statement very well.

  3. What stood out to me the most in the article was, "what Difference Would People Love?". This question allows us to be open-minded to not what would be better or semi-satisfying, but to something that would be greatly beneficial. I enjoy how Forbes takes a simple line and expands upon it with such depth, that it truly allows us, as individuals, time for reflection.

    The mystery, the woman said the "howling wind woke her up", then she heard a noise downstairs, noticing from the perspective of outside the street lights were off, therefore she lit a candle and went outside. My only question is, wouldn't the candle blow out due to the "howling wind"?

  4. My favorite thing about the forbes article was the beginning when he was discussing how they had to listen to the ring to decide if it was for them or someone nearby. This really confused me honestly. I love math, and i'm good at it, it just comes I don't really ask questions when solving a problem, I just did it, so I can't necessarily relate.

    As for the mystery, the woman mentioned howling wind, and that would have been enough to blow out her candle, Also, a candle wouldn't give enough light for her to see anyone anyways. You could probably see 5 feet in front of you with a candle. She's lying.

  5. What stood out to me the most in the article was the question, "Why is it that when we want to call and talk to a person, we have to call a place?”. I think at some point in time this question was more accurate but I find that in today's society everyone has their own phones and own ways of communication that it is almost rare that you have to call a place rather than a person. I do still find this question fascinating as it makes a person really think as opposed to being able to quickly respond.
    As for the mystery, the woman claimed that it had been dark outside because the street light went out yet, she saw a man running off on her front steps. I don't think the candle would be bright enough to see outside.

  6. The thing that stood out to me the most in this article is the whole Marty example. First off, I didn't know the first cellphone was $4000, for wanting to increase convenience, would think it would've been a bit more accessible. It was also crazy how he was able to find the problem by asking a simple question,
    For the mystery, the three questions I asked were; Does she have motive, opportunity, and is their any holes in her story? Unfortunately, she has them all. She was in her own house so she had opportunity. The insurance would pay for it, giving her a motive. Finally, there is no way she could see the man running away if the streetlight is out.

  7. It's crazy to think that because of one question phone technology has forever been changed. If it wasn't for a simple question would we have the advanced technology we do now? I wonder what questions I could ask myself to spark amazing and creative ideas. I found the whole article very interesting. For the mystery, I think that it shows she was lying when she said that the wind woke her up but then heard a noise. Also if it was so windy there's no way a candle would be able to stay lit. Last but not least a candle is not enough light to be able to see someone.

  8. What stood out to me the most about that article had to be something that I could relate with the most, and that would be the fact you want to be in a quiet place for ideas to start to form. This is very true in my case because if there is too much noise I lose my train of thought each time a new person jumps in and makes noise, I also have a tendency to focus on small things like tapping and vibrations as well that prevent me from being able to think about how to go about a problem..
    Onto the mystery puzzle, a couple questions that should be asked are: How windy was it really outside, because candles don't fare well in wind that is as strong as she described and the wind had to of been crazy strong if it woke her up like that. Also if the street light had been out, why did she try to light a candle to see the robber, let alone she said one light was out, not the whole street, so she wouldn't of needed a candle to see the robber anyway. Also, most people would call the police right away if they realized their house was broken into so they could describe the person and the things they stole, but she didn't, she didn't even seen fazed by the robbery attempt, let alone did she look hard enough to try and find what went missing. I'm guessing she just wanted extra money, like someone who fakes an injury in an accident that was no where near bad enough to cause one.

  9. In the article, I thought it was interesting how asking the right question can influence your performance. I didn't think that asking the right question could influence us so much to allow us to perform better than if we asked a simple question. I also liked how the author used the creator of the cell phone as an example because he changed history and technology by asking one simple question.

    The three questions I have for the mystery puzzle are:
    1) Why does the lady wait until the morning to report a robbery?
    2) If she heard a noise downstairs, why would she go outside to see if anyone was in the house? Why didn't she look around her house before going back to sleep?
    3) Did the woman see the man carrying anything while he was running?

  10. The part in the article where it mentioned sitting and listening to your own thoughts really stood out to me. It stood out to me because not many people take the time out of their day to do such a simple task as just listening to their own thoughts. Although, I guess I can understand why people might purposefully avoid sifting through the inter workings of their mind. Sometimes we don't want to listen to our thoughts because they might bring up things you don't want to know or you might just be afraid of what your mind conjures up. In the mystery you can tell she is lying because some of the things she says about finding out someone was in the house didn't make sense. For example, how did she hear a noise when there was a howling wind that was so loud it broke her slumber, how come she didn't notice the streetlights weren't on while she was closing the window and how come the howling wind from outside didn't blow the candle out as soon as she opened the door. Also, How did she see the person running off when the light provided from a candle doesn't reach that far?

  11. The thing that stood out the most was the beginning of the article about the Motorola engineer Marty. The fact that it was a $4000 phone with the battery life of only 20 minutes, and having just one question change it all seems a bit crazy. As for the story, at first I felt a bit clueless, but it was dark, and windy. Yet, once she heard the noise and saw he robber leave, she should have called the police. She also did mention that she did not see anything missing. The robber couldnt have gone to the basement especially if it was dark still. Blahh! Im clueless. Aha.

  12. In the article I found that the idea of asking the right question can improve someone's work environment so much. It had mentioned that just by pausing and really thinking about a question and figuring out the benefits and costs of it can help lead to the right question. It was very interesting because I just always figured it's just a question though we ask questions everyday why does it matter? But now I see it does matter the question you ask can reveal a whole other light to a situation. Such as the example of the man who questioned the telephone.

    As for the mystery the woman had said that she saw someone running away while holding a candle she used for light, due to the street light being out. Although a candle can not give off enough light for her to see someone running away unless they were running right in front of her. Also if the wind was so howling then why did it not blow out her candle as soon as she opened her front door?

  13. While reading the article what really struck me was that Marty was able to solve his and his team's problem by stepping back and asking different questions from different perspectives.
    Regarding the mystery Hilda was lying because when 1, she woke up to close the window due to the wind howling, and later when she went outside with a candle why wasn't the candle immediately blown out? and 2 she said the street was to dark to see anything with the light being out so how in the world will a candle give enough light to see a man running down the street with a painting?

  14. The part that stood out most to me in the article, besides that first cell phone cost $4000 and it only had a 20 minute battery life, was Albert Einstein’s quote, “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” This really made me have a different view on solving problems. The quote emphasizes the importance of asking good questions before attacking an issue, and how much those questions will help you come to a more accurate conclusion.

    The three questions I would ask to solve the mystery are:
    Why did Hilda Dean wait to call the police?
    Why would she look outside before looking around her house?
    How did the candle survive the wind and light up enough to see someone from quite a distance?
    The detective knew she was lying by all these statements in her story that didn’t make much sense. If she wanted the money, she should have thought through her story better.

  15. From the Article, the step of "Pause" stood out to me as very important, and that matches my own experience when dealing with critical matters. The first impulses are rarely the most effective. Improvisation is fine for small talk, but when a specific objective is in play, careful consideration ahead of time is required.

    As far as the mystery goes, a few things stuck out about Hilda's story. First, she said that she heard a noise downstairs, and upon going downstairs realized the street light was out, and that it was consequently too dark to see anything. After this, she said she lit a candle and went outside onto the front steps. It's awfully peculiar that she would light a candle and go immediately outside, without looking around the house first, but this by itself wouldn't prove she was lying. In order to do that, we have to ask three questions: What could she see? What could she hear? Who stands to gain from the painting's disappearance?
    By Hilda's own account, she couldn't see anything initially, and had to light a candle. Candlelight only provides enough light to see for a few feet around the candle, so the supposed thief would have to be standing ridiculously close for the candle to allow her to see him, and in order to still be that close he would have to remain entirely uninterested in the signs of her approach, which wouldn't be conducive to his operation.
    Similarly, Hilda claims that she was woken up by howling wind. Wind strong enough to make enough of a sound to wake someone up would certainly mask any but the least stealthy of sounds made by a prospective thief. Additionally, such wind as she claims to have heard would dramatically impact the ability of the candle to remain lit while outside, further reducing her chances of seeing the thief.
    Sleuth holds off from making his declaration until after asking the final question, however, which inquires as to who stands to gain from the painting's disappearance. Since the painting was insured, Hilda will receive monetary compensation for the painting, which gives her a motive to fake the theft. She's already been caught lying, and now it's revealed that she stands to benefit from such a lie. This combination of factors leads the reader and the detective to a solid conclusion.

  16. After reading the Forbes article, what stood out to me the most was the quote included by Albert Einstein, "If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes." It reminded me of a time I heard on a television show that sometimes the questions are complicated, and the answers are simple, which in essence are a paraphrase of Einstein's quote. It stands so true to me. I think this way when I am conducting an experiment in my biology class, and have to come up with a "testable question". Something that will answer what I am trying to figure out by completing the lab. There have been times when this part of setting up the lab is the most complicated. Asking the "right" question, essentially.

    In regard to the mystery puzzle, I am thinking the same thing many of my fellow class mates are. That being, firstly, there is no way that candle flame was bright enough to see someone running away after the street life went off. I mean, unless it is an abnormally large candle, there is no way it is that bright. Secondly, if the "howling wind" was strong and loud enough to wake her up, I'd assume it would have enough force to blow out a lousy candle.

  17. The one thing that really stuck out to me in the Forbes article was the idea of asking “what difference would make people love my product?” This is not a question people think of often. Instead, we constantly think, what’s the next big thing? What can I event? What do people need? But this isn’t the real question we should be asking, yes we want to thrive and offer people new, exciting things they will love. We often forget, however, that all of the great inventions we have now were made from previous inventions that needed improving. For example, in Marty’s case, we already had phones, we just couldn't take them anywhere. For the Swiffer brand, we already had dusters, but we didn’t have ones that worked as well as we wanted. I think that if we start asking “how can we make things better?” instead of the vague “what can I make?” “what can I do?” we would get many more items in our society improved and bettered for good.

    There are many questions I would ask in order to solve this, as there are many holes in Hilda Dean’s story, however, of all the questions I have these are the three I would ask: Why wouldn’t she use a flashlight on the porch light to look outside? How could she see a man running with only a candle light?, and How could she tell the streetlight was out from outside her house? From these questions I would try to draw a conclusion from my previous knowledge. One, people don’t use a candle to see outside when porch lights or flashlights are available. We know that there are house lights because there is a telephone and alarm clock, meaning there is electricity. Two, light is very powerful and our eyes are very sensitive to it, however, although we can see it from great distances, it does not illuminate a long ways away. This means that she couldn’t see a man running away from her house. Three, who notices a streetlight is out from inside their house? This is likely the last thing she would notice if she heard a noise downstairs. This is especially puzzling because wouldn’t she turn on the lights in her house when she went downstairs to check? If so, she most likely wouldn’t have noticed the streetlight at all. As a result, I believe the reason why Hilda Dean lied was because she was in debt and couldn’t pay her bills. This would explain why she didn’t use her house lights or porch lights to go outside. It would also explain why she would mention her streetlight. That is likely her main source of light in her house and forgetting about her situation mentioned that to Sleuth. This mixed with the fact that she had insurance on the painting would suggest she stole her own painting to get out of debt.

  18. My favorite part of the article is the quote from Albert Einstein. I am not sure why, but every time I see one of his quotes I am always fascinated by it. It also goes along very nicely with the article showing the importance of asking questions. Most people would think it is crazy not solving a problem until the last five minutes when their life depends on it (though I guess most people do this with essays) but he says it in such a way that it almost makes complete sense and, at the very least, you can definitely see the point he is trying to make. As for the mystery, the howling wind would blow her candle out and in-so-doing prevent her from spotting somebody running away. This is why the detective thought she was lying.

  19. The most interesting thing in the article to me was the fact that the first cellphone cost $4000 and it only lasted for 20 minutes. It's interesting to see that the invention worked for the times, but now it would never last. My phone cost $600 and has battery life for hours, but still I don't think it's enough at times. I know it was about asking the right questions, so what about this one: when is enough, enough?

    As for the 3 questions for the 'missing painting'
    1) How far does a candle light illuminate?
    2) Why did she 'happen' to check the basement the next morning?
    3)Why did she call Sleuth, and not the police?
    My family and I think that she's lying, because if it was too dark to see, how would she light the candle? Also, she said she saw a man running, which is doubtful, but she didn't say he had the painting with him. My dad brought up the fact that if the painting was so nice, why was it in the basement, and not on display?

  20. What I found most interesting in the article is how much of an effect asking the right question had on a person or group. I can also completely relate to the effect it has. If I am given a problem to solve it starts out open and I have nowhere to hold onto and make ground. Now when break the problem down and have a clear question to answer my ability to think more creatively is opened up when trying to answer that question. I’m able to give a foundation for myself to think and work with. Without those “right” questions I’m lost.

    There are a couple possible reason why Sleuth believed Hilda to be lying. She said that she used a candle and when walking out onto her front steps she noticed a man running off. Well I don’t know what kind of candle she had but candles don’t have far ranges. Previously though she claimed the howling wind woke her up so if she was outside with a candle it would have been blown out by the wind. Lastly if she said that no money could replace that painting, inferring that the painting meant a lot to her, why was it in the basement where she or anyone else would not be able to see it. Must not be that important to her. That’s all I got.

  21. The quote from Albert Einstein definitely stood out to me in the article, he is just so awesome! His way of thinking blows my mind. If I would have never read his quote I probably wouldn't have started to think that asking the right questions is equally as important as the answer you seek.
    Speaking of answers, I believe that Sleuth knows Hilda is lying for these three reasons: 1.) WHY DID SHE NOT NOTIFY THE AUTHORITIES OF SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR AND THEN NOT NOTIFY THEM AGAIN ONCE SHE REALIZED HER PAINTING WAS MISSING?!
    2.) If it was too dark to see, how did she see a man running away? Wasn't the streetlight not working?
    and lastly, 3.) How does she know someone broke into her house? Did they climb through her window? Or did they just walk through the walls quietly like a ghost?


  22. This article blew my mind that the first phone was $4,000 and only lasted 20 minutes, that is crazy. I really liked his 3 qualities that can assist in formulating a great question. I can sometimes that I struggle with the pausing before I speak. I am definitely one of those people that just let their thoughts run out. I also really like how he put emphasis on the work LOVE. Not just what will people like, but what will they love. I find that very interesting.

    With the detective story, 3 questions I would ask myself are:
    1) how bright is the candle?
    2) how was the candle not blown out by the “howling” wind when stepping out side?
    3) If the painting really was important with sentimental value, why was in the basement?

    Just like Sleuth, you can tell Hilda Dean is lying based off these questions. Also it seems kind of suspicious that the wind woke her up just as someone was leaving her house. I’m not saying coincidences don’t happen, but after everything else that doesn’t line up in her story I would assume this one doesn’t as well.

  23. I found the article quite fascinating. The study of human thought, especially within the context of societal innovation and progress, is such a deep and complex area of understanding. The advice of tapping into deeper human desire ("What would they love?") is really an interesting way of approaching a problem. Typically one is supposed to distance themselves when performing acts of higher thinking, but this goes completely against it. In regards to the logic puzzle, the three questions I would ask are:
    1) How did she hear the noise downstairs over the supposed "howling wind"? Unless it was a very specific noise, most people would attribute noises such as these to the wind as well.
    2) How was she able to see the culprit running away with only a candle? If the streetlight was out, the illumination of the candle should not have been able to reach far enough away for her to see anyone, especially not without seeing more of their features at that distance.
    3) Why was her candle not blown out by the supposed wind? Candles are not particularly hardy, and any wind strong enough to wake a sleeping person and require windows to be closed against it should be more than strong enough to blow out a singular candle.

  24. The thing that stood out to me the most from the reading was the quote from Albert Einstein, "If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” I found this quote particularly powerful because I don't really find questions that powerful or that important. So this quote was kind of an awakener that if one of the smartest guys we study has to sit down and ask questions then maybe questions are more important than I thought. It also helps me realize the importance of what types of questions I ask.

    Regarding the mystery puzzle, when reading this puzzle three questions immediately stand out to me. The first being, how would she be able to see a person running away when the street light was out and all she had was a candle? The candle would not have been enough light to see. The second being, If there was actually "howling wind" enough to open her window then it would have blown out her candle. The third being, If she looked things over that night and did not discover anything missing, then why did she wake up to a missing painting?

  25. The part the stood out the most to me in the article is the paragraph labeled "Pause". Often when answering or asking question you don't pause and think deeper. It feels natural to just speak at the spur of the moment.

    Mystery puzzle:
    1) How did she find the candle if it was so dark out?
    2) How did the wind not blow out the candle?
    3) Why wouldn't she check the basement where the painting was one she saw the man running away?

    Hilda Dean's story is just a little mixed up. She wouldn't be able to see a man running away with a small candle light that she has in her hand. Also Hilda should have called the police if she thought someone has broken in, even if she didn't think he stole anything.

  26. Einstein's quote regarding a good question was very influential. It makes you want to slow down and think about each question to ask. Maybe not 55 minutes, but just think more.

    Well simply you can't see someone run away by the light of a candle at your doorstep. Also as soon as she opens her door, that candle would be out, in eerie mysteries candles are notorious from spontaneously blowing out.

    Put into question:
    1) How would you be able to see someone run away with no street light?

    2) How would your candle survive such "howling winds"

    3) How could you hear a sound down stairs from your upper bedroom over such loud winds, enough to wake you up?

  27. In the article, I liked the idea of asking what would people love. It makes thoughts go to what could be and how things could be great. Also, it's crazy to think that not that long ago, communicating over such large distances was a much more difficult chore than it is today. It's amazing how technology has advanced and let us do so much more.

    As for the puzzle, these are the three questions I would ask:
    1. How could Hilda hear the noise downstairs with the howling wind?
    2. How could Hilda see the man running away with the streetlamp off?
    3. (Supposing she saw him with the candle, which doesn't shine that far at all) how did Hilda see the man running away without the candle blowing out in the howling wind?
    I conclude that Hilda couldn't have seen the man running away. Also if I thought someone had broken into my house, I would call the police no matter what.

  28. When reading the article, I found most of it very interesting and new. However, the thing that stood out to me most was the quote by Albert Einstein. This is because I've never thought about the importance of questions when it comes to solving problems such as math. I always thought it depended on the knowledge you had, and not the knowledge you could receive from the type of question you ask.

    As for the case of the insured painting, here are some questions I have:
    1. How could Hilda hear something from the downstairs if there was a loud howling in the window of her room that woke her up?
    2. If Hilda couldn't see anything because it was so dark, how was it possible for her to light a candle and not hurt herself in any way?
    3. If the street lights were off how was it possible for her to see a man running outside?

  29. The part that stood out the most from the reading was when it said to pause and think. I agree that when one takes time to think to themselves, their mind opens up to the world around them. I think if we all really took time to absorb and take in our thoughts and ideas, there is more room for innovation. It also allows us to question what we believe is true, and keep an open mind about different ideas.

    For the case of the insured painting, these are the questions I have come up with...
    1. How was she able to light the candle when she previously claimed that she couldn't see a thing?
    2. She claimed to see the man run off outside, but she said there wasn't a street light, so how was she able to see him?
    3. If she knew the painting was in the basement, why didn't she check the basement when she checked the rest of the house? Why did she wait until the morning?

  30. The part of the article that stood out to me was the actual question that Marty asked. “Why is it that when we want to call and talk to a person, we have to call a place?” No only was this question the "right" question that led the world to the cell phone technology we see today but when I read it, I felt a strange connection in a way. He asked why when we want to speak to a person we call a place. And it really didn't make sense. If I wanted to talk to someone I should be able to call them personally and that is the problem that he solved by creating the first phone.
    I also found it interesting that the question being asked has to have a solution that people will love and I think that is true. Asking a question that would change something people already love isn't going to help that question move along as well. It wouldn't be the right one.

    As for the mystery... I feel like there is a more simple answer but here are a couple things I found didn't add up. 1. She said that the street light was out. A small candle could not have allowed her to see someone running down the street. 2. If the wind really had been that wild the candle would have gone out when she walked outside. 3. If she had seen someone then why didn't she call anyone until morning?
    I think she must be hiding the painting to get the money from the insurance.

  31. It's amazing what can happen once we take a few steps back in order to look at the bigger picture and carefully think about what is going on or how we can fix it. Inquiring on a specific subject allows for someone to learn more and even can help direct your end goal and keep it from going awry. Now that I think about it, I realize that instead of narrowing our judgments and perspective we need to figure out how to broaden and expand them. The ones that invented devices and methods that would change the world had this exact mentality that enabled them to revolutionize. Marty, the man who invented the cell phone, was only able to do this because he took a new approach which then gave him much more insight and room to expand.

    The three questions I would ask are...
    1) How would you be able to see a man running away with no street lights? IF you could see him, what about the painting?
    2) Wouldn't the candle have been blown out due to the "howling winds"?
    3) Why did she wait until the next day/morning to call the authorities and even then why Sleuth before the police?

  32. “That, detective, is the right question” - Dead Science Dude from IRobot
    What really stood out for me in the article by Forbes was the story about the engineer and the cell phone. “why do we call places when we are trying to call people?” is a brilliant question, and evidently led to the invention of the cell phone. What’s ironic is how simple the question is, but then its profound effect in developing the first cellular phone. I know asking a good questions leads to great answers, so it’s nice to see that idea reinforced with such practical examples.

    I love word puzzles, so it's always cool to find out new possible strategies to solve them easier. I needed to make three important questions on the mystery, so I figured it most reasonable to think of questions that would bring me to the conclusion of why the woman was lying to the detective. My first question is: Why was a painting of sentimental value insured if it wasn’t replaceable, and, why was it in the basement if it held value? Second: How could she of used a candle outside if the night had “howling winds”?, How did the robber know where exactly a certain painting was, and, why did he only steal that? Her story doesn’t add up. I’m guessing the painting was worth a lot of money so she it had it destroyed for the insurance money. She would then call the detective so she could make believable lie without possibly incriminating herself while explaining to the police.

  33. The thing that stuck out to me the most was the price of the first cell phone. $4000 is a LOT of money for a phone but regarding the circumstances I found that it was okay. But now a days, people think that $600 for a phone is a lot but its so much better than $4000. But we also take phones more normally now and its concreted a social norm to see 15 year olds to have one.

  34. I found it rather interesting that the very idea of a cellular phone, the idea of being wherever was new to the phone industry. People already obtained the ability to bring their phones in their cars, and with things like walkmans already out, one would think that the idea of a phone that is mobile would be a very simple idea. It is strange to me how people overlook even the simplest ideas when trying to create new products.
    As for the mystery, what stands out to me is the idea of a candle being used to identify a robber. A candle would likely not be enough to see across a yard of any size, and even if it did provide the necessary light, it would easily be extinguished by the winds that were blowing harshly outdoors. Her undoing was her great detail, as bad liars attempt to provide too much of it.

  35. The main thing that stuck out to me in the article was how easy it was to get so many answers from one simple question. Now granted it might take some time, but eventually you'd be left with so much relevant information and answers you didn't even know you needed! The mind works in mysterious ways...

    As for the mystery, Sleuth knew she was lying because of the way she pieced together her "crime". If the streetlights were really out, she wouldn't have been able to see in order to get downstairs - to the candle - and notice that the streetlights were out. Not to mention, it would be nearly impossible to see a man running away in complete darkness with only the glow of a candle. Her story would have made sense had she stated it a different way.

  36. The thing that stood out to me most from the article was how much of an impact you can have with a question, by just rewording it slightly. Marty (in regards to the telephone), just questioned why people would call the place of residence and not the person itself. This resulted in the first cellphone to ever be created which sparked a long line afterwards. It just goes to show how important creating the right type of question could be.

    As for the mystery, I came up with these three questions:
    1) Does Hilda have an upstairs and a basement?
    2) Why would she use a candle to see outside with howling wind?
    3) Why would her window upstairs be open, if the painting was in the basement?

    Hilda is in fact lying. There is no way someone would go through the trouble of going up one story just to break into a window. Even if she lived in a one story house, she said she went downstairs and then went outside which would be highly improbable. She also probably would've noticed the painting missing if she had to go down to the basement anyway. In conclusion, Hilda's story doesn't ad up and she is definitely lying.

      ***There is no way someone would go through the trouble of going up one story just to break into a window when they could've broken in from the first story, especially when the painting is in the basement.***

  37. I admit that I do jump to conclusions quite quickly. I sometimes gather the wrong evidence and come up with the wrong question without pausing to think if this is the right question to ask. The reading gave me good tips for asking the right questions like unveiling deeper thoughts that are overshadowed by your immediate instinct to take action. This important tip can give me a better look into my ideas, to decide whether they are the right questions to ask or not.
    As for the three questions, they were:
    1) If it was too dark to see anything, how was it possible for Miss Dean to light the candle in the darkness?
    2) If the street light was off, and it was dark, how could she see a man running away?
    3) If a valuable painting was just stolen why would Miss Dean call a sleuth not the police?

  38. Ashleigh JohnsonMarch 4, 2016 at 9:40 AM

    One thing that stood out to me most was the three questions that can enhance the performance of the project in groups of people. I try to do that personally, everyday, will my jumping to shut down someones idea hurt them, or possibly shut down a potentially great idea? I try to pause and think it through and try to come up with a greater idea based on the one brought up. One idea or question can bring up multiple questions and ideas, it's all about finding the one that truly sparks interest.

    The mystery! I bet she thought she was clever! She had said the wind was howling loudly. She went to close the window, that is when she should have seen the street lamps were out, not when she got downstairs. When she lit her candle and went outside, a little candle would not be enough light to see down the street, and because the wind was oh so awfully bad, the candle would have been blown out!

  39. When reading the article, something that stood out to me was the quote from Einstein. I think it stood out to me because we are focused on just finding the answer that we should really just step back and process everything first. Sometimes the answer is simple if we ask the right questions.

    The three questions I have regarding the mystery are: How did she manage to keep the candle lit if it was so windy? How was she able to see a man running away with only the light from the candle? Why did she not call the police first?

  40. In the article, I found it interesting how asking the right question can make such a huge impact. It allows you to further develop, critically think, and lead to great work. Although asking a lot of questions is a frequent process used, pausing and critically thinking will better solve the problem then just asking the "wrong" questions.

    As for The Case of the Insured Painting mystery, after reading it, the first thing I thought was, "Maybe she's doing this in order to get the money for the painting?" Once reading it closely I noticed that she stated that the howling wind woke her up. But she later stepped outside with a candle - why wasn't the candle blown out by the strong wind and how did a single candle display a man running from afar?

  41. The most interesting point that I found in this article is when it says, "The right question can be a disruptive agent, cutting through years of complacency to redirect a team or a company’s focus. It serves as a pointer, aiming us in the direction of the answer. As Einstein put it: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes."". (Forbes, 1). If you are able to ask one question, what are you going to want: A question that is close ended and to the point or open ended and gives you a lot of information. You need a strong, open-ended question that will give you as much information as possible to get a solution to the problem at hand.

    The two questions, about this case, that I would ask myself in order to come up with a solution are:

    1.) Does the suspect, or in this case the victim, have any motives?
    2.) Does the setting and the victims alibi make sense?
    For example, in this case Hilda Dean's alibi was “I was asleep,” she said, “When the howling wind woke me up. I got up to close the window, and I thought I heard a noise downstairs. When I got downstairs, I realized that the street light was out, and it was too dark to see anything. So I lit a candle and walked out on the front steps. Sure enough. I saw a man running off.” There are a couple items that are contradicting in this alibi. First of all, if the wind is howling, how did the candle not blow out immediately?. Also, the street lights were out and candles only cast a 6-8 inch shadow of light so how did Hilda see the man running off?

    Using these questions, I think the solution is that Hilda wanted to make the sleuth think that someone stole the painting so that she could get insurance claim for it. Sneaky lady!

  42. The thing that stuck out to me the most in this article was the price of the first cell phone. $4000 for a phone with the battery life of only 20 minutes is a crazy price. But that's when the world would change. Its crazy to see how far technology has gotten with phones since 1973.

    As for the story, Hilda said that she realized that the street light was out, and it was too dark to see anything. So she lit a candle and walked to the front steps, where she saw a man running. So the three questions I have are:

    How can you light a candle with it being so dark?
    How can you see a man running if a candle isn't bright enough?
    Did Hilda see the man carrying anything while he was running?

  43. What stood out to me most in the article was the fact that the author suggested to take time to think about the question and to consider what would make other people most happy. In today's instant gratification world, people have become more self centered and impatient, making them forget the impact that taking a little time to think and considering those around you can make.

    As for the questions about the case, I would ask the following:
    1) How did she hear a noise despite the howling wind, as Hilda makes no mention of actually completing her task of closing the window?
    2) Being that the street light was out and it was too dark to see anything, how did Hilda manage to make her way towards the window AND quickly light a candle in response to the noise?
    3) How was it possible that her candle even remained lit while she stood on the front steps, considering that the wind was severe enough to awaken her, let alone the fact that a candle would not give off sufficient light to see a fleeing burglar?

    Considering that insurance money is involved, then it is most likely that Hilda's playing along with the classic gambit where they claim something as valuable and just make off with the insurance money, possibly even taking it a step further by selling the art piece on the black market for a further profit (which is, of course, what any sensible person would do).

    That, or, for a more interesting possibility: Considering her single status and that she made no move to call the police, preferring instead to call Sleuth, despite not having made a previous acquaintance, (which is presumed due to the fact that Sleuth knew nothing of her name or location) it is possible that she is actually a crazed fan or stalker who became desperate enough to meet Sleuth through staging a crime herself. Knowing what time he wakes up through extensive research and study, she chose to call him exactly as he awakened and has been secretly fangirling throughout the entire meeting. It's quite a bit far stretched, but anything is a possibility in a fictional setting. (or is it... dun dun DUUUUNNN!)

    "Knowledge is having the right answer. Intelligence is asking the right question."

  44. Overall, the entire article stood out to me. Although what I found truly significant is where it says
    "The right question can be a disruptive agent, cutting through years of complacency to redirect a team or a company’s focus. It serves as a pointer, aiming us in the direction of the answer. As Einstein put it: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on it, I would use the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.” Asking the proper questions is very important and I really enjoy IB makes us think critically because in my opinion many of us can relate to being challenged into developing questions like these.

    1. If it was windy outside, why would she go outside in that weather and with a candle?
    2. What made her come out even though the street light was out? Doesn't that give her a sign that no one is there?
    3. How could the wind have woken Hilda up and not blown out the candle? How did the candle have the ability to provide a light source to be able to see a man running down the street in complete darkness when it barely light up a room?

    In my opinion, Hilda was lying to either get something from Sleuth or gain money through insurance. She did not call the police right away and if she cared about the painting as much as she is stating she does then she would have made sure to check the basement right away.

  45. What stood out to me the most in this article, and it's not the most important, was that the first cell phone cost $4,000 and only lasted for 20 minutes! I think that's absolutely bizarre. Who would honestly spend so much money for that? I'd like to believe I wouldn't, but at the same time, if it was the first cell phone ever, I'd probably be standing in line like everyone else. It's crazy how far we've come in such a short amount of time. Our phones cost hundreds instead of thousands, last way longer, and can do so much amazing things. Needless to say, I'm glad I live in this generation. I don't know what I would do without a phone.

    To solve this mystery, the questions to be asked are:
    1. If she were to bring a candle out into the wind, how would she see anything before it blew out?
    2. When she saw the man running away, was he carrying anything?
    3. If the streetlight was out, how would she have been able to get down the stairs or see if anything was missing in her house?

    Sleuth thinks Hilda Dean is lying because there's no way she would have been able to see anything when she walked out on her front steps. The candle would have blown out leaving the street pitch black again. If the painting was insured, Hilda would receive money for it, so she lied about it being stolen so she can get some money.

  46. When I read the article the thought that I kept having was the best questions are those that dont answer the question directly in front of you but the questions that you will have later down the road. In the article the man questioned "why call a place", that would have been the next logical question after solving the problem of being able to contact someone while they are near their car. By thinking ahead he was able to propel technology and his business by "asking the right questions".

    In regards to the mystery puzzle it is not a mystery at all, Hilda Dean is trying to collect the insurance on the painting, I reached this conclusion through the following questions:

    1. Why would you insure a painting "that money can't replace?"

    2. Giving Ms. Dean's story the benefit of doubt her candle may not have been blown out by the wind but how would she be able to see a man running away in pitch black if she has direct light in front of her eyes? The light would have dialated her eyes, making it impossible to see anything but mere feet in front of her.

    3. How would the thief know the painting is valuable? Thiefs are known to go for quick cash items,such as jewlery, cash itself, or other known valuble items that can be sold easily and anonomusly, a (assuming rare) valuable painting would not be sold quickly and would require proof that it is an original peice by the seller, not making it a very easy item to sell by the thief and thus undesirable for a thief. Also Ms. Dean says the painting was in the basement, why would a theif go directly for a specific item in a basement rather than the main level of the house?

  47. Something that stood out the most to me in the article would have to be the the passage about the difference people would love. It brings up the point of not just trying to be mediocre but be a game changer.
    Conrad knew the lady was lying because her candle wouldn't be bright enough to illuminate down the street to show the man running and her candle would not be able to survive the "howling winds".

  48. Wow. What an interesting thing to read. My first reaction was definitely to the price of the first phone. Ummmm 4000 dollars?! Thats absurd! I really hope that if i were around while this was taking place that I would not spend so much money for something that didn't seem to be as valuable. Yes, it would have been great to have it, but compared to nowadays, where everything is electronic, I feel like I wouldn't feel the need to pay so much money for something that so few people had and would use. Ill admit, this story had me using me brain, and I think thats why i enjoyed it so much. While reading this, the first three questions that popped into my mind were
    1. If the wind was so loud that she couldn't sleep, how would a candle stay lit outside?
    2. If she say the man running, wouldn't she have seen something as large as a painting in his arms?
    3. Why would she wait until the morning to report it? Even if she didn't think something was missing, im sure she would have reported suspicious behavior.

    While taking some time to review this, and really think about what happened, im lead to believe that Sleuth doesn't believe the woman is because the painting was insured, and if her story has holes in it, the woman could just be "missing" the painting to get money. And i'm sure if her story hadn't been so flawed, she could have.

  49. I found the article regarding questions very interesting. It reminded me very much of what we discussed last week in both Mrs. Hurley's class and yours about how to formulate and further facilitate yourself when creating questions. Although it was not mentioned in the article, it was mentioned in your blog post and I'd like to point out that using more open ended questions does help when answering a larger question or learning about a larger topic as I have been using this technique of late. My favorite part of this article was actually the quote "When a person opens their mind to the kind of ideas that come quietly they unveil the deeper, richer thoughts that are too easily chased away by the adrenaline of taking immediate action" because I just found it beautiful and so applicable.

    As for the story, also I believe that Hilda is trying to collect insurance on the painting and I reached this answer by using the following questions.

    1. How could she see a man running away with no street lights?
    2. If she could see him, wouldn't she be able to see the painting with him as well?
    3. Why would a burglar take a painting from such a remote place such as the basement?

  50. In the Forbes article what stuck out to me first off the size, price , and the name of the Motorola phone $4000 for just 20 minutes of battery life, I'd rather not have the access to a mobile phone that does not last longer than an average conversation in real life. The name is also outrageous, the DynaTAC 8000X was Motorola out of their mind? The idea of the right question was fairly interesting, I don't think that I fully understand this idea but the thought of asking the right question can lead to the answer immediately is fascinating. The other part that stuck out to me is asking the right questions on a date or love, it's crazy that asking the right questions can leave twice the positive impact on the person (possibly my issue ha).

    On to the mystery the first question I would ask is how could she possibly hear the noise downstairs over the howling wind? The second question that would be asked is if it was too dark to see anything outside, how could she see with a candle? The final question I would ask is wouldn't the candle blow out if she stepped outside due to the wind? Poor Hilda disappointing that she couldn't come up with a better story, but I love the last statement made by Sleuth it shows that he's got some wit to his character.

  51. The science of asking questions is a very simple one. I mean, ask Mr. Hiatt. He's probably one of the best question askers I can think of right now. He has a way of questioning everything that you say and making you feel stupid for it. Thus proving that sometimes that knowledge isn't what you know, it's how you know it and the matter of asking the right question.

    This why I enjoyed the Forbes article. It was really interesting and thought provoking. Because it not only talked about asking the right questions to get the best result but also how to ask the right questions

    As for the question, Sleuth figured that Hilda was lying because what Hilda was saying didn't add up. The wind was loud enough to wake her but yet she still heard a noise coming from the street. And when she goes downstairs she realizes that she can't see anything because her street lamps were out, but yet she lights one single candle and sees a shadowy figure running away, which I think would be impossible. She be lying.

  52. First, I have to say that this article in my opinion was very well structured. I appreciated the format. The thing that stuck out to me the most in this article was the like vs. love section. " activate a deeply human power of creative energy inside us." I thought that was a very interesting point. The power of emotions in our questions can cause such a deeper reaction.

    The power of asking good questions is what makes a mystery a good mystery. Sleuth was able to see that Hilda's story wasn't connecting the whole time. What she was saying would end up being impossible which could only mean she was lying.
    I also feel this type of problem solving is more familiar to our society due to the mass amount of crime/detective shows.

  53. Throughout her story it seemed a bit inconsistent when she didn't call the police until she talked to the detective first. When a valuable is stolen one would think to call the police first then have the detective come in and investigate. Also she said, "Nothing seemed to be missing, so I went back to bed. Then, this morning, I noticed that a painting had been taken from the basement". (Anyone would have noticed a very valuable painting missing once it had been taken). She should of called the police once she suspected something had happened and checked to see if ALL valuable things were still there.

  54. That article was very interesting to read and it was a little bit inspiring too. I found it crazy first of all how the first cell phone was $4000 and it lasted for 10 minutes! But the other thing that stuck out to me was that it said that you can solve any problem no matter what it is as long as you come up with the right questions to solve it. It almost seemed like a "this is a way to get rich" article because it showed the success of Motorola, but it also makes you think how asking the right questions and not being afraid to ask questions can get you very far.
    The questions I would have asked the woman is how did the candle stay lit in the howling wind? How did you see the robber if the street was dark because the candle can't light that whole street up? Also, how did you hear the robber coming in over all of the noise of the howling wind?

  55. I really enjoyed this article. One of the parts that stood out to me very much was the quote by Albert Einstein. His quote made me think quite a bit about why someone would need to ask the right question. At first when reading his quote I thought that he seemed a bit overconfident in the fact that he would spend the majority of his time, if is life depended on it, simply thinking of a question. However, I then realized that you can't simply solve a problem. You have to first think of what that problem is, how it is affecting you, and to question it. Without the right question you cant find the right answer.

  56. The most interesting part of the article was actually what it failed to mention. I'm all for asking questions, and "getting to the bottom of things" to solve problems. However, I am under no illusion that asking just precisely the right question to yourself, you will find the answer. The flip side of that is that asking questions can actually hinder the solving process. The article to me, seemed to present itself as an end-all-be-all-catch-all. Especially when they brought in the Einstein quote. The person above me states that you have to have the right question to find the right answer. But I firmly hold to the fact that asking the wrong question and asking no question, can also lead you to the correct answer.
    Along with that, you could ask the best question in the world, and still end up in the wrong.
    The world is broken up into so much more than what we can see. Thinking there are truly right questions and wrong questions, seems a little close minded, don't you think? ;)

    As for the story, she's lying. Or just dumb. If anything of great worth and value was to be stolen, most peoples first response would be to involve the police. What she did was simply illogical. That leaves two answers. The ones that I stated above.

  57. For me, the article has valuable points that anyone can take and that it can make a person wonder what questions can really mean in our daily lives. However, I'm not sure it made a big impact on myself since I do feel that if a question is a question, it should not have a back end alterier motive. If someone wants to know the truth to something, they should be straight forward with the question and if the person chooses not to disclose information then it's their fault for lying once the truth comes out about them. Right questions and wrong questions are relative I don't really see anything as a "wrong question. To me, it seems a bit biased but I can understand the logic behind it.
    In the story, she gave way too much detail to a simple question. Also, if it were too dark to see downstairs, how would be able to find the candle in a good amount of time? was a street light! Why wouldn't she turn on her actual lights what does the street light have to do with her electricity? She never stated if the wind outside had shut off her power so maybe I'm looking at the time period wrong. Also, if there had been a break in, you should call the police regardless unless she's very naive. Hilda also explained how the painting indeed was insured, so if this was a valuable painting then it does seem a bit odd she wouldn't call the police in the first place.

  58. I thought the most interesting part of the article was the they talked about how it's important to pause before asking a question. I think this was profound because a lot of times discussions turn into everyone trying to talk over each other without really listening or taking the time to sit back and just think.
    Three questions:
    1) Which part of her story could be a lie?
    2) What could her motives be for lying?
    3) What gave her away to Sleuth?
    I think the hole in her story is that the man couldn't have just run away if he was in the basement like she said. He would have had to go up the stairs that she would be standing on.

  59. I think the most interesting part of the article was when it was explained that a lot of ingenious people usually think very similarly, but their success is dependent on the asking of a singular, good question. It doesn't matter how innovative you can be if you're not asking the right questions, for anyone can prove to change the world, but not everyone will. It was compelling to read it, to show how many great minds are out there but that the reality is, only a small few can capitalize on their thoughts by asking the right question.

    As far as the case goes, the three questions I have are pretty simple:
    1) She claims that the howling wind woke her up, but if the wind was so loud, how did she manage to 'hear the noise' downstairs?
    2) If it was completely dark, how did she manage to light the candle?
    3) Wouldn't the candle be blown out by the 'howling wind'? Furthermore, how was she able to see the assailant run away with the candle's small radius?
    The motive is quite generic, she most likely just wanted to cash out on the insurance money. Assuming that is her motive, the reason why she didn't call the police first was because it would take a long time for them to conduct an investigation and for her to receive the money; asking a sleuth would add legitimacy to her claims, thus reducing the time it takes for her to be able to get the money.

  60. To me, the most interesting part of the article is where they mention pausing before asking a question. I know that I personally find it hard to listen to the other side of an argument and truly consider it to be the truth before spitting out my rebuttal. If i worked on that then i may gain more from debates or arguments.

    Here are my three Questions: 1. How did she hear the noise downstairs if the wind was very loud
    2: How did she see the man run away if the streetlight was out
    3: What motive would she have to lie?
    I think that she made up the story to cash in on an insurance policy. She mentions that it is insured.